Great Game Previews In History: 25 January 2014
Today In History
In the wake of the assassination of his nephew Caligula, Claudius had hidden in the palace but was discovered by a Praetorian guardsman. He was spirited away to the Praetorian barracks and declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard (the first to be so declared).
Because of the unusual circumstances of his accession, Claudius had to fight for legitimacy —so he took the names “Caesar” and “Augustus” and deified his grandmother.
It didn’t really work and Claudius’ reputation has suffered (unfairly) for millennia as a result.
Blues at Islanders, Noon
Records: Blues (34-11-5, 73 points, 2nd in Conference III); Islanders (21-25-7, 49 points, 8th in SUDM)
Last Time They Met: Five different Blues scored in a 5-1 win over the Isles December 5.
Last 10: St. Louis 6-4-0; New York 7-3-0
Historical Context: The Blues are racing against time and the Hawks, trying to close the three-point gap via the advantage of the three games-in-hand. Claudius doggedly pursued Britain — he sent some legions and then, just in time, showed up himself with elephants — and won it.
Avalanche at Lightning, 5 PM Mountain/6 PM Central
Records: Avalanche (32-13-5, 69 points, 3rd in Conference III); Lightning (30-16-5, 65 points, 2nd in Flortheast)
Last Time They Met: Colorado won the last game 2-1 in a shootout on Dec. 23, 2011
Last 10: Colorado 7-2-1; Tampa Bay 5-4-1
Historical Context: Claudius had a temper. He had to apologize for it. How bad does your temper have to be that, even as an emperor you have to apologize? In any event: Patrick Roy is having a great first season, isn’t he?
Maple Leafs at Jets, 6 PM
Records: Maple Leafs (27-21-5, 59 points, 4th in Flortheast); Jets (23-24-5, 49 points, 7th in Conference III)
Last Time They Met: It took 10 rounds, but the Jets beat the Leafs in a shootout March 16.
Last 10: Toronto 6-4-0; Winnipeg 4-6-0
Historical Context: A change of leadership may have been just what Rome needed when Claudius took over. Many historians regard him now as an organized and efficient emperor, a huge change from the listless and wandering Caligula. Indeed, the Jets have benefited from the swap to Paul Maurice, too.
Penguins at Stars, 7 PM
Records: Penguins (36-13-2, 74 points, 1st in SUDM); Stars (23-20-8, 54 points, 5th in Conference III)
Last Time They Met: On Leap Day 2012, the Pens won in a shootout.
Last 10: Pittsburgh 7-2-1; Dallas 3-6-1
Historical Context: Much has been made of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin’s chemistry. Claudius had struggles with chemistry, married four times (and poisoned by his final wife), his tough luck with the ladies was one of the many things he was mocked for by contemporaneous historians (although, if they are trying to poison him, that sounds more like a Her Problem than a His Problem).
Wild at Sharks, 9:30 PM
Records: Wild (28-20-5, 61 points, 4th in Conference III); Sharks (33-12-6, 72 points, 2nd in Pacific)
Last Time They Met: Sharks won 3-1 in San Jose Dec. 12.
Last 10: Minnesota 7-3-0; San Jose 7-3-0
Historical Context: This is about a killer whale, not a shark, but it’s still awesome.
From Pliny the Elder:
A killer whale was actually seen in the harbour of Ostia, locked in combat with the emperor Claudius. She had come when he was completing the construction of the harbour, drawn there by the wreck of a ship bringing leather hides from Gaul, and feeding there over a number of days, had made a furrow in the shallows: the waves had raised up such a mound of sand that she couldn’t turn around at all, and while she was pursuing her banquet as the waves moved it shorewards, her back stuck up out of the water like the overturned keel of a boat. The Emperor ordered that a large array of nets be stretched across the mouths of the harbour, and setting out in person with the Praetorian cohorts gave a show to the Roman people, soldiers showering lances from attacking ships, one of which I saw swamped by the beast’s waterspout and sunk.